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Needles and Opium is a meditation on art, love and dependence. A collage of moments where time and gravitational force seem suspended, the viewer is immersed in an Escher-like world with no up or down—an illusionist act as fascinating as it is strange.

One night in 1949, on a plane taking him back to France, Jean Cocteau writes A Letter to Americans. In it, fascination and disenchantment coexist: he had just discovered New York, where he had presented his most recent feature film, The Eagle With Two Heads.

Around the same time, Miles Davis visits Paris for the first time, bringing bebop along with him. Parisian jazz fans celebrate him, and, in the length of the song “Je suis comme je suis,” Juliette Gréco welcomes him with open arms.

Forty years later, at the Hôtel La Louisiane in Paris, a lonely Québécois man tries to forget his ex. His emotional distress contains echoes of Cocteau’s dependence on opium and Davis’ addiction to heroin. During his spectacular withdrawal experience, he’s accompanied by the words of the prince of poets and the blue notes of the exceptional jazzman as he leaps into the unknown, desperately looking within to stop his pain and free himself from his addiction to love.

Ex Machina is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Ville de Québec.

Show Times



  • Olivier Normand
  • Wellesley Robertson III


  • Playwright and Director Robert Lepage
  • Assistant Director Normand Bissonnette
  • Properties Designer Carl Fillion
  • Composer and Sound Designer Claudia Gendreau
  • Lighting Designer Jean-Sébastien Côté
  • Costume Designer Bruno Matte
  • Image Designer François St-Aubin
  • The show contains excerpts from Lionel Arnould
  • Robert Lepage's Agent Le texte du spectacle comprend des extraits de Lettre aux Américains et Opium de Jean Cocteau
  • Production Managers Lynda Beaulieu
  • Technical Directors Julie Marie Bourgeois, Vanessa Landry-Claverie
  • Tour Manager Michel Gosselin, Pierre Gagné
  • Stage Manager Charlotte Ménard
  • Sound Manager Adèle Saint-Amand
  • Video Manager Marcin Bunar
  • Lighting Manager Thomas Payette, Nicolas Dostie
  • Costume and Prop Manager Jean-François Piché, Nicolas Boudreau
  • Head Stagehand
  • Stagehand Pierre Gagné
  • Rigger Jean-Félix Labrie
  • Automation Consultants Maxime Bouchard
  • Video Consultant Tobie Horswill, Stanislas Elie
  • Makeup artist Catherine Guay
  • Costume Construction Jean Bégin
  • Set Construction Carl Bezanson, Julie Sauriol
  • Trumpeter Scène Éthique Astuce Décor
  • Acrobatic Consultants Craig L. Pedersen
  • Produced by Geneviève Bérubé, Yves Gagnon, Jean-Sébastien Fortin, Jean-François Faber
  • Co-produced with d'Ex Machina
  • Théâtre du Trident, Québec
  • Canadian Stage, Toronto
  • Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, Montréal
  • Adelaide Festival
  • New Zealand Festival
  • Le Grand T, théâtre de Loire-Atlantique
  • Les Quinconces-L'espal, scène conventionnée, théâtres du Mans
  • Célestins, Théâtre de Lyon
  • Le Volcan, Scène nationale du Havre
  • Festival de Otoño a Primavera, Madrid
  • ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage, Boston
  • NAC English Theatre avec le Théâtre français du CNA et le Magnetic North Theatre Festival
  • Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo
  • LG Arts Center, Séoul
  • The Barbican, Londres
  • La Comète - Scène nationale de Châlons en Champagne
  • La Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand scène nationale
  • Les Salins, scène nationale de Martigues
  • John F. Kennedy for Performing Arts
  • American Conservatory Theatre
  • «Marin Sorescu» National Theatre and Shakespeare Foundation, Craiova
  • The International Diaghilev Festival, Perm
  • Theatre Royal Plymouth
  • Théâtre le Diamant, Québec
  • Associate Production - Europe, Japan Epidemic Michel Bernatchez assisté de Vanessa Landry-Claverie et Nadia Bellefeuille
  • Associate Production - The Americas, Asia (except Japan), Australia, New Zealand Richard Castelli assisté de Florence Berthaud
  • Menno Plukker Theatre Agent (Menno Plukker, assisté de Magdalena Marszalek et Isaïe Richard)
A presentation of
Le Soleil Numérique
Public programming partners
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec Canada Conseil des arts du Canada Ville de Québec

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